“A person is, among all else, a material thing, easily torn and not easily mended.” ― Ian McEwan
My memoir, Diary of a Vet's Wife, Loving and Living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, has reached the far corners of our planet in search of readers living in the wake of PTSD. I invite others with compassion for our warriors, to learn what too many veterans contend with after they return from combat. Each family may cope with something different, yet we belong to each other. I can only show what happened to me and my family.
Telling the truth has opened wounds I cannot heal. I can only say, "I'm sorry." Had I not put my story on paper, I was sure it would have eaten me alive from the inside out. I have made myself vulnerable so others might learn and to give them hope.
It takes two to speak the truth one to speak, and another to hear. ~ Henry David Thoreau
The past months have vanished like a breath in the wind as I plow through books and websites of MARKETING ideas. Each morning I face my opponent boldly as it winks and taunts me with a beckoning finger, enticing me into yet another maze of information to be digested. It can be overwhelming, but I know this too shall pass.
Regretfully, I've had little time lately for writing and creating, so I decided to post a blog from earlier last year that you may not have seen:
Wounded Warriors Walk Among Us (February 2, 2012)
"After wars' end, soldiers once again become civilians and return to their families to try to pick up where they left off. It is this process of readjustment that has, more often than not, been ignored by society." -- Major Robert H. Stretch, Ph.D in Textbook of Military Medicine: Vol. 6 Combat Stress
Recently, we witnessed our troops returning home from Iraq. It was the biggest U.S. withdrawal since WWII with another 33,000 troops due home from Afghanistan this year. Certainly GREAT NEWS for families praying for their safe return.
Major television stations throughout the country broadcast the "Homecoming" of these brave man and women reuniting with loved ones after a long fierce war. Spellbound voyeurs, we shared in the first crushing embraces and unashamed tears, while young children were swooped up in happiness and held high overhead. We grinned as bright-eyed babies warily met their fathers for the first time.
But all parties come to an end. The time comes for our veterans to return home and emotionally detach from the war they left behind thousands of miles across the sea. Everyone wants to believe they can STEP BACK into the lives they left behind - but it hurts me to say, it doesn't work that way.
Battle has changed each of them. Some physically, all mentally. It's this knowledge that burdens my heart. I've been there - I know what clings to the shadows.
When news came to Walt Whitman that his brother George had been wounded at Fredericksburg during the Civil War, Whitman rushed south to find him. Though his brother's injury was slight, Whitman was deeply affected by his first view of the war's casualties. He began visiting the camp's wounded and, almost by accident, found his calling for the duration of the war. Three years later, he emerged as the war's "most unlikely hero," a living symbol of American democratic ideals of sharing and brotherhood.
- The Better Angel, by acclaimed biographer Roy Morris, Jr.
Last week on MSNBC, I saw that St Louis was the first city in our country to have a parade for their returning warriors from Iraq. I was moved by the heart of this city because they understood what should be done to HONOR our veterans and help the HEALING begin . . . and they did it!
Why hasn't this happened all over the country? These brave men and women deserve our loyalty and respect along with our ACKNOWLEDGEMENT of the SACRIFICES they endured for us. We sit home safe and secure enjoying the peace we take for granted, while these men and women fight and die for our country in another land far away. I don't understand .
I feel the need to share my thoughts because I lived with a Vietnam veteran who suffered with PTSD for 16 years. He was the love of my life, but at that time there was no help. Today, resources are at our fingertips through the wonder of the Internet. Although they are still not enough to meet all the needs of our veterans it's a start.
One reason I wrote my story, Diary of a Vet's Wife, was to show our country what was happening right under their noses, and to give support to those families now living the nightmare. This CRISIS is real. The war does not stop when our troops withdraw from combat. It follows them home like a big black dog.
My memoir, Diary of a Vet's Wife, Loving and Living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, shows the devastating side effects of war on one family, yet I know there are mega-thousands throughout the world living this nightmare as I once did. How can we STOP it?
The signs of post traumatic stress disorder MAY start out subtle. Many refuse to admit anything is wrong.
What You Need to Know
- Traumas happen to many competent, healthy, strong, good people.
- Many people have long-lasting problems following exposure to trauma.
- People who react to traumas are not going crazy.
- Having symptoms after a traumatic event is not a sign of personal weakness.
- When a person understands trauma symptoms better, he or she become less fearful and are better able to manage them.
PTSD Symptoms/Signs generally fall into 3 main categories:
Intrusive - Re-experiencing traumatic events
- Distressing recollections
- Feeling anxious or fearful
- Extensive and active avoidance
- Loss of interest
- Feeling detached from others
- Restricting your emotions
- Trouble remembering
- Shutting down
- Feeling strange
- Not feeling pain or other sensations
- Difficulty sleeping
- Difficulty concentrating or thinking clearly
- An exaggerated startle response
- Being overly angry or aggressive
- Panic attacks
- Specific scenes
- Sound or smell
Below I've listed the number of The Veterans Crisis Line. Please check out Veterans Crisis Line.net, even if you don't think you need it now. Get familiar with the resources available, and save this information for easy access. Please call . . .
The Veterans Crisis Line is a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs resource that connects Veterans in crisis and their families with qualified, caring VA professionals through a confidential toll-free hotline and on-line chat.
Download the Veterans Crisis Line logos and other graphics to display on your website or materials to show support for our Nation's Veterans and help them get the care they deserve.
The new VA suicide prevention hotline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), recently reported that it's received more than 55,000 calls, averaging 120 per day, with about 22,000 callers saying they were veterans.
(Excerpts taken from retired website: PTSD Combat: Winning the War Within)
Lesson Learned . . . My two cents
"We are healed of a suffering only by experiencing it in full." - Marcel Proust
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